Monday, August 19, 2013
Salad Week! Thai Style Quinoa Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing
We've had a beautiful summer around here - a fun filled, indulgent, carefree, beautiful summer! Being that we've been so carefree (meaning very little gym time) and indulgent (meaning many more restaurant outings and desserts), it's time to reign some of that "fun" in and get back on track with exercise and eating healthier. To get us inspired to do that, I'm declaring it Salad Week in the LJ household! As my blogging friend Jennifer from Classic Style Home jokingly said as we were chatting about it earlier today, it really should be salad MONTH, haha! True dat.
I've got a host of delicious salad recipes that I'm looking forward to trying as we transition back to our healthier routines. Some of these recipes are from my Salads board on Pinterest (follow me on Pinterest if you don't yet, it'll be fun!). For the next week, I'll post a salad recipe each night of what I made for dinner and tell you what I thought about it. Hopefully this will keep me motivated to stick with a healthy routine through the first week. That first week is always tough for me and I fully anticipate that as I detox out of my summer sugar-laden habits. If I commit to posting something every day about it with you all, then I will probably do just fine, plus it's fun trying new and interesting recipes. Yes, this will be fun! I'll just keep telling myself that over again. :)
First up is a Thai Style Quinoa Salad, a great dish for meatless Mondays. I was inspired by this Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing from Ambitious Kitchen and when I pinned it awhile back, I knew I wanted to try making a version of it. I love Thai flavors, so much so that years ago I took several Thai cooking classes so I could cook some of my favorite dishes at home. I learned so much about the flavors used in Thai cooking and to this day I still make several of the recipes I learned from those cooking classes. I combined several of the ideas from Ambitious Kitchen's quinoa salad with the Thai flavors that I love including coconut and curry to come up with my own version of a Thai Inspired Quinoa Salad. This was so good! We really liked this salad and I'm already looking forward to having leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I'll be making this one again and again.
Thai Style Quinoa Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing
Ingredients for salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded green or Napa cabbage
1 carrot, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
3 Tablespoons minced shallot
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts
Ingredients for dressing:
2-3 Tablespoons red curry paste (some brands are more concentrated and hotter than others - if you've not tried it before, start with a small amount and go up as needed)
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1-2 Tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce if going meatless)
Zest of 1 lime
Optional: Sriracha for heat
Rinse and cook quinoa according to package directions (I usually soak it for 15 minutes and rinse it well. I add the quinoa and 1 3/4 cups water to a pan to boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes.) Let quinoa cool. Spreading the hot quinoa on a cookie sheet and putting it in the fridge while getting the rest of the ingredients ready will help cool it down quickly.
While quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add curry paste and garlic. Saute for a minute. Add peanut butter, coconut milk, brown sugar, lime juice, and fish or soy sauce. Whisk until it comes together. Add Sriracha sauce if desired for some additional heat. Remove pan from heat and cool dressing to room temperature.
Assemble the salad:
In a large salad bowl, combine quinoa, curry dressing, shredded red cabbage, shredded green or Napa cabbage, shredded carrot, shallots, cilantro, and basil and toss thoroughly. Top with chopped peanuts and additional basil and cilantro if desired.
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